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Takeaways from 2021 Gartner® Market Guide for Unified Commerce Platforms Anchored by POS

It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for retailers. Squeezed by the pandemic, changing shopping behaviours and fluctuating demand, retailers have learnt a series of invaluable lessons which will help them thrive long into the future. The biggest change since the start of the pandemic has been retail’s shift to embrace digitalization and technological innovations. Tech and smart solutions have proved to be the answer to a series of different challenges and have helped retailers operate more efficiently, control costs more effectively and deliver enhanced experiences to their customers. This shift has been recognized in the recently published 2021 Gartner® Market Guide for Unified Commerce Platforms Anchored by POS for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Retailers, in which Sitoo is recognized as a Representative Vendor. The guide provides comprehensive insight into the direction the industry is heading, the vendors operating in the market and the expectations businesses have of a Unified Commerce Platform anchored by POS. Here are the four, in our opinion, key takeaways from the report which you can download in full below:

  1. A POS Unified Commerce Platform is essential for seamless experiences
  2. Real-time inventory visibility is a necessity
  3. Cloud-native software & open architecture are top priorities
  4. Physical retail is alive and kicking

1. A POS Unified Commerce Platform is essential for seamless experiences

“Without a POS unified commerce platform, retailers will continue to deliver disjointed experiences and disappoint customers.”* Retailers have had to scramble to meet new and emerging customer expectations at speed and at scale. The customer expects the same experience regardless of the touchpoint where they interact with the brand. From the customer’s perspective, there’s no difference between an e-comm store, a social media marketplace, a physical store or even a pop-up store. They are all one and the same. And this is why retailers need technology in place to make the customer experience seamless and “provide continuous customer journeys, allowing customers to browse, transact, acquire and consume anywhere and everywhere.” You can find out more about the benefits of a unified commerce platform here.

2. Real-time inventory visibility is a necessity

“A POS unified commerce platform can provide unobstructed inventory visibility and facilitate access to those products regardless of the location.”* Bad inventory management will quickly see disappointed customers, frustrated store associates, and disillusioned store managers. It’s a recipe for disaster. Good inventory management, on the other hand, has the power to transform your business. Increasingly, retailers across the globe are now moving beyond their ERP system in a bid to improve their inventory management. This is where a unified commerce platform with real-time adjustments comes in. The real-time inventory adjustments allows retailers to trust stock levels and optimize inventory availability. The unified commerce platform also improves accuracy and availability by making stocktaking, incoming deliveries and outgoing shipments, easy. Retailers can manage all their in-store inventory operations directly from their mobile POS device. As the Gartner report notes: “Customers who start their searches online will want confidence that the products they select will actually be in the store to go try or to pick up through click and collect. Retailers that are leveraging endless aisle or showrooming concepts must be able to access products outside of the physical store. A POS unified commerce platform can provide unobstructed inventory visibility and facilitate access to those products regardless of the location.” Learn more about real-time inventory management with a unified commerce platform here.

3. Cloud-native software & open architecture are top priorities

“The requirement for open architecture has rapidly emerged as a high priority for retailers planning new POS deployments, and has further accelerated over the past 12 months.”* Cloud-native software built with open architecture gives retailers greater control, choice and flexibility. In short, it means retailers can create a solution that meets their specific needs which can then be rolled out at speed and at scale. Any solution a retailer invests in should have “open architecture with inherent centralized services or microservices, which allow for the POS to serve as the conduit to adjacent applications.” This best-of-breed, SaaS model means retailers keep costs down. Maintenance and field service costs evaporate, eliminating the need for consultancy hours and to pay for updates every time a new feature is needed. According to Sitoo’s research, most retailers with a best-of-breed approach usually have a run rate saving of up to 50% when they have undergone their transformation and the total cost of ownership is reduced. Alongside fast and efficient integration, rethinking customization (which is made possible with open architecture) means there’s no need for bespoke development, no maintenance and there’s lasting compatibility. With customization without disrupting the code base and external services as an integrated part of the POS, everything works seamlessly, all of the time. As the report states: “Some vendors are now including a collaborative ecosystem of developer tools for retailers to access and configure the microservices as part of the platform. By doing this, retailers have more control of the configuration and orchestration of the microservices, allowing for rapid co-creation and competitive innovation.”

4. Physical retail is alive and kicking

“The physical store will remain the greatest contributing channel for sales and revenue.”* While the role of the store is changing, it’s still the biggest channel for sales and revenue. Increasingly, stores are being used for fulfillment execution and optimizing the cost of e-fulfillment. Stores are also fundamental in giving customers the kind of experiences they desperately want. As stated in the Gartner guide: “ It’s clear that the physical store and POS will play an even greater role in delivering a unified commerce experience for customers. This will continue to increase as more online sales are supported by and materialize in the physical store. Therefore, retailers must have solutions that can support a fluid customer journey, one that traverses both online and offline channels and includes multiple touchpoints. POS, anchored within the larger unified commerce platform, will serve as the conduit for all unified commerce functions.” Discover all the benefits of a mobile point of sale here. A unified commerce anchored by POS is the foundation on which the future of retail is being built. It has the power to help retailers improve CX and operational efficiency while at the same time driving down costs and making life easier (as well as empowering) store associates. Download the 2021 Gartner® Market Guide for Unified Commerce Platforms Anchored by POS for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Retailers to learn more. Access the Market guide


*Gartner, Market Guide for Unified Commerce Platforms Anchored by POS for Tier 1 and Tier 2 Retailers, By Max Hammond, 2 August 2021 Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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